Malnutrition is a common cause and consequence of illness. By some estimates, as many as 20% of patients in hospitals are malnourished. A poorly nourished brain can cause a person to experience depression and mood swings that interfere with functioning. A new study from Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital has found that Vitamin C administration in those who are deficient can cause a significant and rapid improvement in the emotional state of acutely hospitalized patients.
Vitamin C and Vitamin D Deficiencies Both Linked to Psychological Abnormalities
Dr. L. John Hoffer MD PhD, an investigator at Jewish General Hospital affiliate Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, randomly assigned admitted patients to receive either vitamin C or vitamin D supplements for seven to ten days. Those given vitamin C had a “rapid and statistically and clinically significant improvement in mood state” which did not occur with vitamin D.
Dr. Hoffer says that earlier studies indicate that about “one in five acute-care patients in the hospital have vitamin C levels so low as to be compatible with scurvy. Subclinical deficiencies of vitamin C and vitamin D have each been linked to psychological abnormalities.”
The brain is the second biggest body user of vitamin C. The nutrient aids in tissue growth and repair and in the production of neurotransmitters, particularly norepinephrine which is critical for both function and mood.
Dr. Hoffer adds that the treatment is “safe, simple, and cheap, and could have major clinical practice implications.”
Adults are recommended by the National Academy of Sciences to consume at least 75-90 milligrams of vitamin C each day through food or supplement sources. For those clinically deficient, the upper tolerable level for adults is 2000 milligrams per day, but large doses may cause indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea.